Just Give it Fifteen

I don’t know anybody who is good at figuring how much time tasks take. There are some who generally overestimate, giving themselves too much time to complete a certain task and then not being sure what to do with the surplus. There are those who underestimate, never having enough time in the day or short changing their own work. Case in point: it’s surprising what you can get done in fifteen minutes.

Most nights I put my three month old son to bed. Sometimes he fights it, sometimes not, but either way he’s asleep in about fifteen minutes. This is a fact I have to keep reminding myself of because when he is fighting sleep it seems like it’s never going to happen. I get frustrated and this time alone with my son becomes no fun for anybody. But then I remind myself to just stick with it for fifteen minutes. Sometimes he’ll yell for ten minutes and then settle down; sometimes it’s gradual and sometimes it’s as if a switch was flipped from awake and upset to asleep.

All kinds of activities work this way. Sometimes you just turn a corner. So next time I’m faced with a difficult challenge or a project that I don’t know how to approach, or even a household chore that I’m dreading, I’m going to give it fifteen minutes and see what happens. Maybe I’ll get a little closer to resolving the issue; maybe I’ll take a giant leap forward. In either case fifteen minutes isn’t much of a cost to get there.

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